A 57-year-old man convicted for child luring for the third time in seven years and flagged as a high risk to reoffend could end up with a sentence of up to seven years in prison.
Kyle McLaughlan has pleaded guilty to child luring and failing to comply with previous orders in connection with an undercover operation in which an OPP officer pretended to be a 15-year-old girl during an online chat.
“The vast majority of cases, when there was a third conviction for child luring, went by way of a long-term offender application or a dangerous offender application,” said Bracebridge Crown attorney Lynsday Jeanes.
And that may well have been considered had the investigation not ended prematurely, she added.
In addressing the court, McLaughlan, who has long suffered from a series of health issues and requires dialysis, told the court he is sorry. He also said that he has a job lined up for when he is released and he intends to seek help.
He said his sisters will no longer talk to him and both his parents died during the 929 days he has been in jail awaiting trial.
“During the time I have been here, I am very remorseful for what I’ve done,” he told the court through a video link-up. “I am very seriously looking at getting help.”
While in remand, he said he hasn’t been able to access any support programs.
Court heard that McLaughlan had created a website advertising modelling photo services, which was discovered by a Durham-area police officer who was involved in photography.
In January 2018, an OPP officer with the child exploitation unit posed as a 15-year-old girl online, communicating with McLaughlan, who presented himself as a photographer.
In their messaging, McLaughlan asked the girl to come for a photo shoot with him where she would present herself in different forms of dress, including being topless, semi-naked and nude.
The investigator had intended on continuing the conversation and perhaps arranging a meeting. Court heard a news reporter contacted McLaughlan for a feature about probation and McLaughlan went offline, abruptly ending the conversation with the OPP officer he thought was a girl.
Because the investigation ended prematurely, there was no ability to gather further evidence to strengthen the case, Jeanes said.
“Clearly here, the accused was caught in the grooming stage of the conversation, it did not progress to that point and even in the light of that the accused is pleading guilty,” she said.
“This is exactly what he had done on his last set of convictions. The photography studio, trying to get people to come in and take pictures, the conversion that he had with her is the exact same set up for that he just spent serving a 39-month sentence for,” she said. “He has absolutely no insight into his behaviour.”
In seeking a seven-year sentence, Jeanes said McLaughlan was trying to lure girls to provide him with sexual gratification.
McLaughlan was first convicted in August 2013 for child luring, receiving an 18-month sentence and three years’ probation.
Another conviction for child luring followed in 2016, resulting in a three-year sentence, along with probation which included an order that he not use a computer or the internet without permission or be in contact with people under age 18.
Court heard that while he was in jail he sent a birthday card to the six-year-old daughter of a cellmate.
McLaughlan’s lawyer John Sharkey said there were no photos, no pornography and no sexual discussion in this case.
“There wasn’t a victim in this case, per se,” he said.
Sharkey referred to several documents detailing McLaughlan’s poor health. During his time in the Central North Correctional Centre in Penetanguishene, he added, he remained on the medical wing.
Among his ailments are worsening chronic kidney disease, for which he will require dialysis, Type 2 diabetes and coronary disease.
Sharkey suggested McLaughlan was unable to access as much free time as other inmates while on the medical wing.
And instead of 1.5 days for every day served awaiting court, Sharkey requested two days. McLaughlan, he said, was at a higher risk of being infected with COVID-19 while in the medical wing.
Sharkey requested a term of two years less a day, so McLaughlan can remain in the same facility and continue to receive treatment from the doctors who he has been dealing with.
Justice Stacey Nichols is expected to render her sentence on Friday.